Posted by: dowsmallgroups | 27/04/2013

St Gianna Molla – seeking God’s will

The following reflection first appeared in Sparks of Light (WRCDT, 2012) and is reproduced here in honour of her feast day – 28 April.

St Gianna MollaYou may recall a news article, from 2012, which recounted the story of a young expectant mother confronted with a potentially life threatening tumour growing on her heart. Doctors put forward various options to diffuse this ‘ticking time-bomb’ but the young mother to- be chose to postpone any surgery until her unborn child was closer to term. In her words, ‘I wanted him to have a chance to survive before me.’

Although the article did not disclose the young woman’s family background or faith tradition, her heroic decision echoed that of another young mother, Gianna Molla. Many may wonder why Blessed Pope John Paul II chose to canonise Gianna in the concluding years of the twentieth century? Was it solely the selfless act that tragically took her life or was there more?

On the surface, Gianna’s life does not seem appreciably different from others living at that time. However, having grown up in a family of strong faith and with maturity well beyond her years, she soon saw her entire life through the prism of that faith. For a time, she seriously considered becoming a medical missionary and following in the footsteps of her brother, a Capuchin priest working in Brazil but, after prayerful consideration, she determined that her lack of physical stamina was a sign to set aside this idea – that this was not the road God had called her to live.

Building on the cornerstones of her daily life: prayer and Holy Mass, Gianna sought to live the gospel message in the world – in Christ’s vineyard. Besides her charitable work among the poor through the St Vincent de Paul Society, she was a devoted leader of Catholic Action with responsibility for the formation of youth. As a highly trained, medical doctor, Gianna viewed her physician’s work as a matter of both body and soul. Encouraging her colleagues not to forget the patient’s soul, she reminded them that these two are separate entities but united. She wrote: ‘God so inserted the divine into the human that everything we do assumes greater value.’ Gianna meditated long and prayerfully on God’s will for her. ‘What is a vocation’ she wrote: ‘It is a gift from God- it comes from God Himself! We should enter onto the path that God wills for us not by “forcing the door,” but when God wills and as God wills.’ Gianna believed she was called to marriage and family life and she waited patiently for God’s will to be revealed. (St. Gianna Molla, page 8)

In Gianna we have the example of an intellectually gifted woman who could have done anything with her life. After discerning a possible missionary vocation and embarking on a career as a doctor, Gianna Molla, this prudent woman, found her path to holiness as a wife and mother. Illuminated and guided by the light of Christ she loved life and lived it fully. Prudence was not something she fell into but came from her repeated search for the will of God. Her final decision and act was to save the life of her unborn child, she would not have had it any other way.

When making a decision it would be sensible to take your time and to consult the experts, however, the right decision can sometimes be what is not commonly-held, comfortable or easy. How can I ensure that the ‘right’ way takes precedence over the easy way? How am I able to achieve good and avoid evil in my decision-making? 



  1. Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing and God Bless, SR

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